Review of S Y Z Y G Y X “Fading Bodies”

By Katy Knal May

https://syzygy-x.bandcamp.com/album/fading-bodies

Hometown: Washington DC

Label: Cold Transmission/Negative Gain

Members: Luna Blanc and Josh Clark

Fading Bodies is the latest release by the incredibly fun, yet dark electronic, synth-wave, alternative rock group, S Y Z Y G Y X. This album slaps? Did I use that right? I’m not super hip with what the kids say, but this album is fantastic. Basically, it sounds like what a strobe light looks like. The chaos of it all is overwhelming but in an exciting way. Waves of synth smash you in the face until there’s nothing left to do but submit and dance your ass off.

WARNING: THIS ALBUM WILL GIVE YOU GOOSEBUMPS AND IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART….

Fading Bodies is the most terrifyingly fun music I’ve heard all year. It’s electronic, industrial, alternative, and it is chilling. With the electronic genre on lock down, S Y Z Y G Y X adds darkness that is truly eerie and disorienting, but exciting.  Every song has an addicting beat, a ton of texture, and catchy riffs that listeners get hooked on.

Luna’s vocals are haunting and the synth lines are cosmic. Josh’s beats and synth lines bring it all together.  Their ability to work together is utterly cosmic, hints their band name. When I mentioned waves of synth smashing you in the face, I mean, like, the entire ocean swallowing you whole.  Don’t let the fluid feel fool you though, whether it be drums or synth, there will be saw waves there that cut like a knife reminding you that you’re alive! Even after listening to all fifteen tracks, I was left wanting more.

Some favorite tracks

Die Like A Rockstar – This song starts out like an 80’s rocker with a pulsating synth and addicting beat.  In this track, Luna’s breathy vocals are clear as she talks about a sexy “rockstar”.   At first, you think this is going to be some typical pop-rock, synth-wave song, but then a creepy synth line happens right before unpredictable changes in melody. These dynamics keep you engaged the entire time in its complexities.

Times Are Hard for Dreamers– This song starts out with a synth line that sends chills down my spine every time.  I love this track because as soon as everything kicks in, it’s like a vintage video game soundtrack.  It’s so exciting! Whenever there’s a rest on the drums, I get a swelling feeling in my chest waiting for the bass to drop. This track also uses roto toms and I kind of lose my shit every time I hear them.  

Pins and Needles– Immediately, this song cuts you to pieces with synthesizer and bass. This song is probably my favorite song to awkwardly dance to on the whole album. It’s fast with a lot of twists and turns that are unpredictable, tense, and otherwise emotionally evocative. It creates the perfect amount of tension to lead into the final track, Fury, which relieves all that built-up tension almost immediately. 

I’m a huge fan of synth-driven music, so this album was right down my alley. Beyond being a banger of an album with song after song of incredible music that’s easy to dance to, this album takes the capabilities of synthesizers to the next level. I really enjoyed this entire album from beginning to end.  If you like bands like NIN, Eurythmics, Synergy, Kraftwerk, or generally like anything which is amazing and features top-notch synth work, you have check this out.

Review of S Y Z Y G Y X: The Graveyard Compilation

Band: SYZYGYX

Album: The Graveyard Compilation

Label: Cold Transmission

Members: Luna Blanc and Josh Clark

https://syzygy-x.bandcamp.com/album/the-graveyard-compilation

Do you know that feeling when you watch a truly suspenseful horror film? The first time you saw Suspiria, or The Exorcist. When you are gripping the edge of your chair uncomfortable, unnerved, feeling your heart race faster in your chest but you can’t look away. You know this is just a film and not happening to you but are still overcome with a terrifying dread that the world is monstrous and mysterious. That you might not have as firm a grasp on what is real as you thought you did? That is what I felt the first time I heard Washington DC TerrorElectroGoth band SYZYGYX.

SYZYGYX is An astronomical term denoting the disposition of three celestial bodies on a line. This is an incredibly deep and bad ass band name. This album is a compilation of “Broken Mirrors” EP (Burning Grave Records), “Encounters” EP (Cold Transmission), and “Is That All There Is” (Burning Grave Records). ” A very impressive body of work that all has an extremely avant garde tactile feel that creates a wonderful range in style and structure over the course of one collection. There are some elements of this unique sound that really tie everything together. For one Luna has such a wispy sensual voice that is full of haunted beauty. The music isn’t edgy or industrial, it has a medium pace dance beat. With a lot of subtle percussion notes to build tension and add flavor. The synth sounds are so wide ranging and expressive. When Josh adds in contrasting resonant monotone driving vocals it creates a dialog. A superb and fringe effect.

Luna and Josh with Cold transmission

I really enjoy a band that makes higher concepts and chic visual sound feel so effortless. When cool has a sound. How could you get Ladytron and The Goblins to create a soundtrack for a Italian horror film set in the New York club scene? To me that was the clashing contrast of elegance in SYZYGYX.

With 16 tracks that were chosen as standouts from the EPs it’s hard to pick favorites but lets give it a go.

Avoid the Void – Luna’s gentle whisper over this lancing synth sound. The snapping drums. There is something so Siren like in her calling voice. “You’re nothing, you are a waste of skin” I can’t argue. I think this song really struck me for the subtle touches which is what the band does so effectively.

Velvet Lips – What an offbeat and interesting phrasing on the vocals. The drums seem almost at odds with the melody creating this terrifying tension. Shrieking background sounds and subtle hints of beauty to the dark and sinister texture. The bridge change up almost feels like throwing the song in reverse while going 60 mph. It jars me, it captures me, it leaves me transfixed and wondering. The ending drum beats are like metal bars on steel drums and have this infinitely east coast alley feel.

Runaways – The closer is the perfect encapsulation of what this album is working towards. Luna’s voice is bouncing between her sharp stabbing and her breathy soothing. The Synths have a continual build. It definitely feels like running away from something but with no destination in mind. The voices of consequence on your shoulder calling you towards a change. Then the vocals become clear and the synth becomes a spaceship taking the journey to a strange and foreign place.

Overall the album is vast, hard to place in a box, and sinister. That’s what I felt made me love it more and more. Each block of songs stepped outside themselves and the whole of the sound stepped outside of the norm. It’s strange, it’s beautiful, it’s thought provoking. This is music for a private dance party not everyone is invited to. An intimate music. A puzzle to be solved together.

Review of Hante: Fierce

Band: Hante

Album: Fierce

Label: Metropolis Records | www.metropolis-records.com

All tracks written, recorded and produced by Hélène de Thoury

https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fierce

https://www.facebook.com/hanteband/

The new album Fierce by by Paris France based Helene de Thoury is a bold sensory attack on modern darkwave sensibility. It attacks the concept of pop music in its effortless ability to face concepts and sounds that feel comfortable and easy to accept. It attacks a dark and artistic scene with ear haunting melodies and hook heavy rhythms that appeal to the senses. This album walks a razors edge between counter culture revolution and dance hall destruction. A true dichotomy in every brilliant track that forces the listener to question what is the edge of artistic expression and do I give a shit because this song is straight toe tapping fire. These songs are haughty, they are Paris in an unnamed nightclub at 3am. They are unfiltered cigarettes and dark lit rooms. The songs are full of sex appeal and understated intention. When trying to describe these flowing keyboard lines and subtle drum beats I keep coming back to the word effortless. The details of drum fills, swells, texture are all there in perfect precision. But it has that feeling that is so illusive and hard to capture of trying to sound cutting edge cool without all this fore thought. Like you just showed up and it happened. That is the essence of Hante.

The vocals and Lyrics embody this concept most of all. Helene never reaches, never uses anger or intensity to portray her emotions in these songs. She floats like a phantom in a flowing black dress smoke rolling behind her and she tell the story of strength and heartbreak in these soundscapes and city tales. These are songs I found myself lost in. Shadow puppets that surrounded me and captured me. I have seldom heard an album where the vocals and music found such perfect balance and never overpowered each other. This is a record to become lost in. A labyrinth of sound and mirage.

Are there familiar elements here, sure, it has a giant audio wave tidal wave of Cocteau Twins, a grinding sultry darkness of Anne Lennox. Yet the beats and music have a edge, a sharp razor bite that speaks to the modern sensibility that subtlety is not enough to define her. This is beauty that must be heard and viewed from a distance from fear of steeping to close to the fire.

Standout tracks:

Waiting for a Hurricane – Driving gentle waves of keyboard and dance hall beat. Builds you in an ebb and flow. Helene’s voice is a whisper and a promise. The chorus is a angelic choir of pop majesty. These drum beats are driving and haunting. Like a lost ghost with a eternal message. I hear you.

No Tenderness – This song features Aetervader’s majestic and heartfelt vocal lines. I found myself in love with the contrast and unyielding echos. It gave such an important change of pace of urgency and effort from Helene’s delicate and gentle emotions. When you hear an artist of this caliber you have to ask how would one add to this? Aetervader found a way without detracting from her glory.

Never Over– A dissonant creeping melody. I loved this song for pulling back everything else and giving the purity of Helene’s vocals a chance to shine in an echo chamber. The clarity and dynamics of the keyboard line made this track stand out. When the drums dropped around 1:47 the song took on a fullness and depth that really made it resonate to me. To feel like rain bouncing off streets on a twilight night.

Overall this album is an album that feels like a painting. An image captured in time and full of stirring emotion. I had never heard Hante’s previous albums and didn’t expect to become so enamored but here I found myself. It’s gorgeous, tragic, striking, it makes you feel something. Something fast, and deep. It is efficient, modern, and grabs you in its arms and rocks you to a place you can both feel gently or dive into. Take this journey. Feel this power.

Review of Mr.Kitty: Ephemeral

Band: Mr.Kitty

Album: Ephemeral

Label: Negative Gain Productions

Members: Forrest LeMaire

https://mrkittydm.bandcamp.com/album/ephemeral

https://www.facebook.com/pg/mrkittydm/about/?ref=page_internal

I think I have been putting this review off for a while out of intimidation. I have listened to this album A Ton. It has been my album to put on the headphones when walking into work to psyche myself up to face the day and find my swagger for the last several months. Austin Texas underground electronic star Forrest LeMarie has outdone themselves with such a bold and challenging offering of fiercely laced dance beats and emotionally dangerous themes. I first heard Mr.Kitty in a tragic way, I saw a post by another musician about how his tour van was robbed on the road. I gave a small donation because what a horrible thing to do to a touring artists. I remember being blown away and touched by the level of support and outpouring from other bands in the scene. I think that always says a lot about an artist by who will stand up for them. What is the name they have built and Forrest is truly beloved. Artists don’t give away that level of respect lightly. Then this record dropped in March 2019 and had 30 tracks? 30 tracks, who does that in the modern era…no one. What is more, it isn’t filler, it isn’t fluff. Every song is a story full of crystal clear production, heart wrenching vocals, and powerful themes.

In my formative years I was very flamboyant and it made me a target. Bands like The Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, who took beautiful pop hooks, harmony, and style and mixed it with an undertone of very powerful dark themes that contrasted the prism of color and joy in the music meant so much to me. That’s what this album stirred for me, that fierce defiance and truth of making something fun and beautiful of the fear and pain of feeling outside.

I think what is even more impressive about this record beyond the sheer scope of it is the precision and calculation of every song. Nothing is wasted here. Every tempo change, every keyboard sound, every line of poetry seems to have a place and purpose. As a listener it’s so captivating. As a song writer it is hard not to player hate and think, good gods how did you do this for 30 tracks. It’s truly a staggering feat when you think about it.

Ok, here comes the hard part. How does one choose stand out tracks when you have 30 worth while songs? Sitting here at 12:30 am on a Wed I don’t have a good answer to that question. However if Forrest had the focus of mind to create this amazing piece of work I suppose I can suck it up and narrow down 3 tracks I love the most.

Disconnected Lover – What a beautiful anthem chant dance room burner of a song. “It’s not up to you, it’s up to me, I’ll tell you how to set me free” The distant echo vocal sound creates this awesome displacement. The dance beat burns, it lives inside your head and you can’t shake it free.

Trauma – Oh the creeping build of this song. It’s so accessible but delivered in such an upbeat friendly tone it truly makes me not feel alone whenever I hear it. “With all my rage I’m going to take you down. To which you beg and plead before i put you in the ground. Few songs make me feel so connected in isolation, to capture that feeling in a genuine way is a truly monumental achievement.

Immurement– This album is so dynamic and full of range. It would be impossible to only focus on the upbeat dance gems. This is a full and crushing song hitting you with creeping walls of sound closer to Bach than to dance music. A slow exposed attack of sound and emotion. Striking and retreating. It’s a different story, a different journey and that is the beauty of this album.


Look if you haven’t gotten the picture yet, this is an album you need. It’s vast, courageous, but also full of fun and hope. It’s one of those records I keep coming back to when i don’t know where else to go. Which is one of the highest compliments I can think to give for a person who listens to as much new music as me.

Review of Curse Mackey: Instant Exorcism


Artist: Curse Mackey

Label: Negative Gain

Other Affiliations: Pigface, Evil Mothers, Amorous, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Grim Faeries, SPASM

https://cursemackeyngp.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR3pLI_Sfju7v_VlnffOHq26o_EY3zOmxXymbDs4fovEw3Zhj-9EYIn-kmY

https://www.facebook.com/pg/cursemackey1/about/?ref=page_internal


So someone much smarter and a better writer than me once told me “If you want to be a better writer, read books written by great writers” I feel like this is advice Curse Mackey has taken to heart. Because here we have an album of a very literary quality with an engineers craft. As I listened to it again and again I kept finding myself drawn to the question, what was he reading when he wrote this?

Curse Mackey photo by Christopher De La Rosa

Going to try a slightly different format for this review because of the artists pedigree. I mean here is a guy David J calls to fill in for Peter Murphy when he is tired. An artist who is appreciated and respected at the highest levels of industrial music. It’s for good reason. He is a wizard of craft bending the ultraviolet light of electronic sounds into a laser focus. This is his first solo offering and is a chance to tell his story strictly from his own perspective.

Right out of the gate the first song “Submerged is a subtle and gripping offering. Where the chains slip around behind you and lock in place before you know you are captured. Satirical blasphemous religious allegory in the style of William Blake hints at the greater heresy to come later without going over the top. I was extremely impressed with the rising and falling dynamics to create this sense of slowly sinking beneath the water.

“O’Blasphemy” This is a dance floor burner for the ages. The imagery is sexually charged and delivered in a boot stomp cadence. I love the background keyboard lifts, so much motion feels like dancing in an earthquake. The vocals are razor slices tearing you to shreds while they lull you into acceptance. This sounds like post coital breathing mixed with rebellion. 

Somewhat Processed” This is a Dante’s Inferno quest of the River Styx touring and longing for something lost. “Just part of the show for our bloodstained soul” A need to feel. The triplet snare snap to create that off kilter hurky jerky motion while the dangerous silky vocal is your Charon poling you down the river.


Concubinary” Sometimes a song strikes me by what i picture myself doing while listening to it. This is a great city-scape street walking burner that jumps on the back of Mackey’s vocals and lets the lyrics carry it across the finish line. That wild and untamed part of the city where the rules don’t apply.

Secrets of the Resurrection” Such a delicious pop hook served up in classic ritual form. The song carefully and strategically assembles all the parts until you see the face of the monster. The chorus from Nat King Cole re-imagined in this wicked anthem of hope and clashing counter culture. Beautiful live wire tension shakes your core.


Dangerous Sleeper” I love this breakdown creep with throwback samples reminiscent of Wax Trax or Evil Mothers days. Not sure where they came from Mackey is known for finding or creating samples from his everyday experience, but i am moved by the slow creeping doom and flowing rhymes. “He’s my arch angel made flesh, he takes the mark, upon his flesh”

This entire album has a cohesion and message that stands out in a current world of blips, clicks, and snippets as a classical work with the quality of literature and study. It really spoke to me for the experience and craft that was the culmination of a career in art and learning leading to this moment. This is a must own album for anyone who values the genre of Industrial Dance Music.